Tiffany & Co. (TIF) reported its financial results for the three months (“second quarter”) and six months (“first half”) ended July 31, 2016. Worldwide net sales were below the prior year in both periods, which management attributed to declines in sales to both local customers and foreign tourists in most regions. Net earnings as reported in the second quarter were above the prior year (but declined when compared with adjusted net earnings in the equivalent prior-year period – see “Non-GAAP Measures”) and declined in the first half. In both periods, earnings benefited from higher gross margins, but there was a lack of sales leverage on operating expenses.
In the second quarter:
Worldwide net sales declined 6% to $932 million and comparable store sales declined 8%. On a constant-exchange-rate basis that excludes the effect of translating foreign-currency-denominated sales into U.S. dollars (see “Non-GAAP Measures”), worldwide net sales and comparable store sales declined 6% and 9%, respectively.
Net earnings rose 1% to $106 million, or $0.84 per diluted share, from $105 million, or $0.81, in the prior year. Net earnings declined 5% from the prior-year period’s $111 million, or $0.86 per diluted share, which excludes a specific charge in that period (see “Non-GAAP Measures”).
In the first half:
Worldwide net sales of $1.8 billion were 7% below the prior year and comparable store sales declined 9%. On a constant-exchange-rate basis, worldwide net sales and comparable store sales declined 6% and 9%, respectively.
Net earnings of $193 million, or $1.53 per diluted share, included a tax benefit of $0.05 per diluted share in the first quarter related to the settlement of a tax examination. This compared with the prior year’s $210 million, or $1.62 per diluted share, as reported, and $216 million, or $1.67 per diluted share, when adjusted for the charge referenced above (see “Non-GAAP Measures”).
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Frederic Cumenal, chief executive officer, said, “The global environment continues to reflect well known challenges that we believe have had broad effects on spending by local customers, as well as foreign tourists, especially from China. We are managing expenses efficiently, but also maintaining our marketing spending as a percentage of sales and continuing to invest in key strategic initiatives and opportunities to further strengthen Tiffany’s competitive position among global luxury brands. By delivering extraordinary products and experiences to our customers around the world, we remain focused on growing sales, operating margins and earnings, and creating greater value for stockholders.”
Net sales by region were as follows:
In the Americas, total sales of $434 million in the second quarter and $837 million in the first half were both 9% below last year, with declines of 9% and 10%, respectively, in comparable store sales. On a constant-exchange-rate basis, total sales and comparable store sales declined 8% and 9%, respectively, in both the second quarter and first half. Management attributed the declines to lower spending by U.S. customers as well as by Chinese and other foreign tourists.
In the Asia-Pacific region, total sales of $230 million in the second quarter and $469 million in the first half were 6% and 7%, respectively, lower than the prior year, and comparable store sales declined 12% and 13%, respectively. On a constant-exchange-rate basis, total sales and comparable store sales declined 3% and 9%, respectively, in the second quarter and 4% and 11%, respectively, in the first half. Sales growth in China and Korea was offset by a continuation of significant declines in Hong Kong and more moderate declines in most other markets.
In Japan, total sales increased 10% to $138 million in the second quarter and rose 9% to $269 million in the first half due to comparable store sales growth of 13% and 12%, respectively. However, on a constant-exchange-rate basis, total sales and comparable store sales declined 5% and 3%, respectively, in the second quarter and declined 2% and rose 1%, respectively, in the first half. Management noted lower spending by Chinese tourists in both periods.
In Europe, total sales declined 12% to $111 million in the second quarter and 11% to $208 million in the first half, due to respective declines of 17% and 16% in comparable store sales. On a constant-exchange-rate basis, total sales and comparable store sales declined 8% and 13%, respectively, in the second quarter and 7% and 13%, respectively, in the first half. Lower sales in continental Europe were attributed by management to weak demand by foreign tourists and local customers, in contrast to better performance in the United Kingdom.
Other sales declined 3% to $18 million in the second quarter and 20% to $40 million in the first half, reflecting comparable store sales declines of 22% and 21%, respectively. Management noted lower retail sales in the United Arab Emirates (“UAE”) and an increase in wholesale sales of diamonds.
Tiffany opened four Company-operated stores in the second quarter and closed one existing location. At July 31, 2016, the Company operated 311 stores (125 in the Americas, 83 in Asia-Pacific, 55 in Japan, 43 in Europe, and five in the UAE), compared with 304 stores a year ago (124 in the Americas, 79 in Asia-Pacific, 56 in Japan, 40 in Europe, and five in the UAE).
Other financial highlights:
Gross margin (gross profit as a percentage of net sales) increased to 61.9% in the second quarter and 61.6% in the first half, from 59.9% and 59.5% in the respective prior-year periods. The increases were due to lower product input costs, changes in product sales mix and price increases taken in the past year.
SG&A expenses declined 4% in the second quarter and 1% in the first half, reflecting lower variable labor-related costs, lower sales-related variable costs, lower marketing expenses and higher store-related costs. Excluding the effect of a specific charge in the prior year period, SG&A expenses declined 2% in the second quarter and increased less than one percent in the first half.
The effective tax rates were 34.5% in the second quarter and 32.1% in the first half, compared with 34.2% and 34.4%, respectively, in the comparable prior-year periods. The decline in the first half rate was due to a benefit related to the conclusion of a tax examination.
Net inventories at July 31, 2016 were 1% lower than at July 31, 2015.
Capital expenditures of $101 million in the first half were slightly higher than $98 million in last year’s first half.
The Company maintained an active pace of share repurchases in the second quarter, buying approximately 1.1 million shares of its Common Stock at an average cost of approximately $63 per share; in the first half the Company bought approximately 2.3 million shares at an average cost of approximately $65 per share. At July 31, 2016, $344 million remained available for repurchases under a program that authorizes the repurchase of up to $500 million of the Company’s Common Stock and that expires on January 31, 2019.
Cash and cash equivalents and short-term investments totaled $720 million at July 31, 2016, versus $771 million at July 31, 2015. Total short-term and long-term debt as a percentage of stockholders’ equity was 37% at both July 31, 2016 and 2015.
For the full 2016 fiscal year, management is maintaining its outlook to expect: (i) worldwide net sales declining by a low single-digit percentage from the prior year and (ii) earnings per diluted share declining by a mid-single-digit percentage from 2015’s adjusted earnings of $3.83 per diluted share (which excluded loan impairment and certain staffing and occupancy charges – see “Non-GAAP Measures”). These expectations are approximations and are based on the Company’s plans and assumptions, including: (i) worldwide gross retail square footage increasing 2%, net through 11 openings, 6 relocations and 9 closings; (ii) operating margin below the prior year’s 19.7% (excluding the prior year’s charges – see “Non-GAAP Measures”) due to an anticipated increase in gross margin (although at a considerably lesser rate in the second half than in the first half of the year) more than offset by SG&A expense growth; (iii) interest and other expenses, net unchanged from 2015; (iv) an effective income tax rate slightly lower than the prior year; (v) the U.S. dollar unchanged from current spot rates for the balance of the year; and (vi) weighted average diluted shares outstanding modestly lower than in fiscal 2015.
Management also expects for the full 2016 fiscal year: (i) net cash provided by operating activities of at least $660 million and (ii) free cash flow (net cash provided by operating activities less capital expenditures) of at least $400 million. These expectations are also based on the Company’s plans and assumptions, including: (i) net inventories unchanged from the prior year, (ii) capital expenditures of $260 million and (iii) net earnings in line with management’s expectations as described above.
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